Fumo Aide Gets Light Sentence

Judge says Arnao had a rough childhood

A judge sentenced former Pennsylvania State Sen. Vince Fumo's aide, Ruth Arnao, to a year and a day in prison. While prosecutors said it's too lenient, the judge said she had a rough childhood.

Arnao was convicted of 45 counts of corruption related to defrauding the state Senate, a charity and a museum of more than $3.5 million with Fumo.

The sentence was too lenient and far below sentencing guidelines, prosecutors said.

Though Arnao did not speak to the press, her defense attorney Ed Jacobs portrayed his client as someone who had been “irrationally devoted” to her boss.

In court Arnao held back tears as her oldest brother and two community leaders spoke about her years of volunteer service.

When U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter asked Arnao when she realized she had done something wrong, she said it was in the middle of the trial.

And though Buckwalter told Arnao, “You can’t spend government money for yourself -- that’s what you did,” he noted several times the childhood hardships Arnao overcame.

With the lenient sentence, the judge seemed to say that a bad childhood justifies Arnao spending charity and taxpayer money on shopping sprees, vacations, cars and an overall luxury lifestyle.

Fumo was convicted of 137 corruption counts and was recently sentenced to 55 months in prison.

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